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My first house in South London


Breguet really influenced the horology profession
George Daniels Master watchmaker
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So Breguet altogether was one of that little and rare group of masters who could exploit every aspect of horology. No matter what was wanted, Breguet could produce it. He had his workmen all the way across Europe. He sent his son to Soho in Birmingham as an apprentice, but the son found that the English were too coarse and drunken, and so he elected to go back to Paris.

[Q] Did Breguet work with some of the English watchmakers? And Arnold, did he have a lot of contact with Arnold?

He knew Arnold, he had a great admiration for Arnold, which is unusual in any profession really, but he did have a great admiration for Arnold and he did convert one of his own watches... sorry, he converted one of Arnold's watches into a vehicle for carrying Breguet's tourbillon, which was a great compliment to Arnold. It was a very expensive present to make too, and that watch is in the British Museum now. So of the few people in the history of horology, to make a positive contribution, Breguet counts very highly among those few people. There is only a handful, a half a dozen at the outside, who really influenced the profession.

George Daniels, CBE, DSc, FBHI, FSA (19 August 1926 - 21 October 2011) was an English watchmaker most famous for creating the co-axial escapement. Daniels was one of the few modern watchmakers who could create a complete watch by hand, including the case and dial. He was a former Master of the Clockmakers' Company of London and had been awarded their Gold Medal, a rare honour, as well as the Gold Medal of the British Horological Institute, the Gold Medal of the City of London and the Kullberg Medal of the Stockholm Watchmakers’ Guild.

Listeners: Roger Smith

Roger Smith was born in 1970 in Bolton, Lancashire. He began training as a watchmaker at the age of 16 at the Manchester School of Horology and in 1989 won the British Horological Institute Bronze Medal. His first hand made watch, made between 1991 and 1998, was inspired by George Daniels' book "Watchmaking" and was created while Smith was working as a self-employed watch repairer and maker. His second was made after he had shown Dr Daniels the first, and in 1998 Daniels invited him to work with him on the creation of the 'Millennium Watches', a series of hand made wrist watches using the Daniels co-axial escapement produced by Omega. Roger Smith now lives and works on the Isle of Man, and is considered the finest watchmaker of his generation.

Tags: Breguet, Soho, Birmingham, British Museum, tourbillon, Antoine-Louis Breguet, John Arnold, Abraham-Louis Breguet

Duration: 1 minute, 35 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008